Standing atop Treasure Island Wednesday afternoon, a beaming Felix Grucci Jr., fireworks guru, had a message for Las Vegas: "We're back!"
Back to the rooftops, he means.
Last year's New Year's Eve fireworks show went off with a thud after organizers decided to shoot them from parking lots and garages along the Strip instead of from hotel rooftops, rendering them invisible to much of the valley.
"Unfortunately, it didn't work as well as we would have hoped," said Grucci, vice president and CEO of Fireworks by Grucci.
The decision to tame the show was made after Clark County adopted new rules requiring fire safety engineering inspections before pyrotechnics could be launched from a roof. Organizers decided at the time the studies would be too time-consuming and costly.
But complaints abounded, and organizers listened, said Michael Mack, spokesman for Las Vegas Events.
"You want to make sure you're the best at what you do," Grucci said.
Organizers worked all year to make sure the new safety standards were met in time for tonight's 7-minute, 11-second fireworks program dubbed "America's Party: A Vegas Celebration."
The $500,000 fireworks show, which took 65 pyrotechnicians four days to set up, will soar at midnight from the tops of seven Las Vegas Boulevard hotels.
"Anywhere you can see the sky is the best place to view it from," Grucci said.
Tourism officials expect about 315,000 out-of-town revelers to be on hand for New Year's Eve, slightly up from last year's estimated 312,000.
The Metropolitan Police Department will have every commissioned officer -- more than 3,200 employees -- working on New Year's Eve.
Most of them will be in uniform along the resort corridor.
Some will be in plainclothes among party revelers, officer Ramon Denby said.
Teams of officers, firefighters and paramedics will also be on hand for any situation that arises, he said. But the department doesn't know of any terrorist threats to the city.
"We have no information of any credible threat to Las Vegas or the Las Vegas Valley," he said.
This evening, the Strip will be closed to vehicular traffic, and several on-ramps and exits on Interstate 15 will be shut down.
The trick to getting where you want to be is simple: go early.
Officials plan to close Interstate 15 exits and onramps at Tropicana Avenue, Flamingo Road, Spring Mountain Road and the Harmon Avenue overpass starting about 6:30 p.m.
Closures on the Strip usually start about an hour after the ramp shutdown begins. Cars will not be allowed on Las Vegas Boulevard from Russell Road to Sahara Avenue.
Las Vegas Boulevard could reopen between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., once workers have swept up the trash left by the celebration.
Unaccompanied minors cannot be on the Strip from 6 p.m. today to 5 a.m. Friday, police said.
A ban will be in place for aluminum cans and glass bottles. Revelers are encouraged to use plastic containers and should not carry large bags or backpacks that could contain cans or bottles.
Organizers have again dubbed the party at downtown's Fremont Street Experience "TributePalooza."
It will feature bands that re-create the music of INXS, U2, Depeche Mode, Van Halen, No Doubt, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses.
There also will be fireworks: a specially designed show that takes place under the video screen canopy.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is scheduled to lead the countdown to the new year.
Downtown freeway off-ramps will close about 5 p.m. The Fremont Street Experience will close to the public at 5 p.m., and reopen at 6 p.m. for party guests.
Tickets are $10 for those with a Nevada ID and $20 for visitors. Only people age 21 and older will be allowed. The concerts start at 6 p.m. For more information, call 678-5600.
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE
Drunken revelers have several options for getting home safely this new year.
The Regional Transportation Commission will offer free bus rides along its regular bus routes from 6 p.m. today until 9 a.m. New Year's Day.
The Designated Drivers program makes sure both inebriated drivers and their vehicles get home safely. It's free over the New Year's Eve holiday. The program's number is 456-RIDE (7433).
And AAA Nevada will pour you into a tow truck cab and haul your vehicle home.
The ride is free for the first five miles; after that drivers must pay the company's regular towing fee, which varies.
The service is offered from 6 p.m. today until 6 a.m. New Year's Day. Its number is 800-222-HELP (4357).
If none of these options appeal to you, there's always a cab.
DON'T SHOOT, EITHER
North Las Vegas police are again promising stepped-up enforcement of firearms laws to reduce celebratory gunfire meant to ring in the New Year.
It's part of the city's "What Goes Up Must Come Down" campaign.
Additional officers will be on patrol tonight, with some specifically assigned to respond to gunfire calls.
The extra officers are necessary to "reduce this reckless behavior before someone is seriously injured or killed," Police Chief Joe Forti said.
Residents should call 911 if they see someone firing a gun and can help police pinpoint the shooter's location. But refrain from reporting "possible gunfire" because those noises often turn out to be fireworks, police said.
Review-Journal writer Lawrence Mower contributed to this report. Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0285.